Finals are stressful, and not just because they cover six month's work of material we have to study all over again, but because some of us have no idea how to review that much with a limited amount of time. The best way to overcome that hurdle is by using these three easy strategies to help memorize and master everything you need to study for finals!
1. Immerse your subconscious by surrounding yourself with whatever needs to be memorized.
Now I'm not saying decal the textbook world map onto your living room walls, but I am saying put it on your wall — preferably in the form of taped printer paper. Tape sheets of the world map on the wall in your bedroom, your bathroom and any other place in the house you stay in. Put it as your computer desktop background, your cellphone background and whatever else you stare at most of the time. Take a two minute glance at it every morning, in between breaks, before and after meals and before you go to sleep. Get yourself into the habit of staring at the world map, and by the end of a week or so, you will have it memorized.
Overexposing yourself to whatever you need to memorize — whether it's a world map or periodic table — will help your subconscious to internalize the information with half the usual effort. It's like a physical mind map and works just as effectively.
2. Divert from your practices and determine your learning style, even if you think you already know it.
Studying is exhausting, and what's even more frustrating is not being able to fully remember certain concepts you know you went over at least a dozen times or blanking out in the middle of an exam when trying to run through the list of formulas stashed somewhere in your mind. Unfortunately, repetitive memorization seldom works, unless that's your learning style.
Everyone has a different learning style — whether it's auditory, visual, linguistic or kinesthetic. A lot of people associate "studying" with "linguistics," whenever they reread chapters and notes. While most people fall into more than one of those categories, it's interesting to note that 65 percent of people on average are visual learners, but 80 percent of teaching instruction is delivered orally when only 10 percent of the population consists of auditory learners.
To study effectively, determine your learning style right now by taking this quick quiz.
3. Avert your attention to master the art of guesstimation.
There are three ways of guessing: random, educated guessing and meta-guessing.
Random guessing is self-explanatory: pick whatever answer your gut tells you is correct and move on.
Educated guessing is the better option because you use what you already know to narrow down answers. With this method, try rephrasing sentences in your head or on paper. You can narrow down your choices by paying special attention to the terminology used, like:
– If two choices essentially say the same thing, ignore them both and choose something else.
– Avoid absolutes, such as answers with the words "all," "very," or "none."
– Eliminate extreme answers that look totally different from the rest of the answers provided.
– Match keywords in the question with keywords in the answers.
– Find answers to one question by looking at another question on the test that has that information.
And so forth. If you'd like to see the full list of tips, check out this website.
Meta-guessing is more analytical, and thus, has a higher chance of actually being the right answer. This form of guessing puts you into the minds of test-creators and over time, you become familiar with the way certain test questions are formatted.
1. Don't look at the question — only look at the answers. For instance, say your answer choices are:
2. Eliminate the answer that appears to be an outlier compared to other answers. In the example above, that outlier is -7/3. Why? Because all the other answers are divisible by five.
3. Narrow down your choices by picking out what's obvious. Nearly all of the answer choices above have three as their denominator. What's the point of including so many answers with three as the denominator unless the correct answer has three in the denominator? This leaves either -10/3 or 5/3 as the answer.
4. But don't overthink it. The correct answer would be 5/3, because "there is a choice of 5 which I would assume is there for students who forgot to divide by 3," but the designers of the test are smart. They anticipate students may adopt this train, so "the actual answer is -10/3."
At the end of the day, guesstimating should only be used rarely, as needed, and most of the answers should come from memorization and practice. So surround yourself with learning material, determine your learning style and study hard to ace your finals!